The current strict social distancing guidelines imposed by the government as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic means that many of you are spending more time at home and only leaving for essential journeys, such as to pick up food, medical supplies and for one exercise activity daily.
Despite the lockdown measures resulting in a decrease in recorded crime, including home burglaries, there have still been reports of thieves targeting sheds, outbuildings and garages, and cases of opportunists taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak to burgle homes of the vulnerable and elderly. Police have also warned residents of ‘sneak in’ burglaries, where thieves gain access to properties through unsecured doors and windows and steal from homes within minutes.
Burglaries aside, the additional time that you are spending indoors poses other safety risks for your home. There are a number of precautions you can take to protect your home from fire, as well as to take the pressure off emergency services at this already unnerving time.
Given that most are staying home at the moment, it would be easy to assume that your home and property are safe. However, you should still exercise caution when it comes to security and safety. In this article, we’re sharing our tips for mitigating risks and protecting your home during lockdown.
While lockdown has been put in place for your safety, this doesn’t mean to say that opportunists won’t use this time to break into homes and property. Make sure you lock all of your windows and doors, including sheds, garages and gates, when you leave your house and at night. Care should also be taken even when you are at home. Remember to move and lock away ladders (and any other items) that a burglar could use to get to a second story.
Inside your home, keep your expensive items or those of sentimental value out of sight, away from windows, or lock them away safely. This will help prevent thieves targeting your home for a specific item. Remember to take any keys, such as your house keys, car keys, spare hidden keys and keys for external buildings inside and keep them in a secure place.
If you have CCTV, intruder alarms, security lighting or any other security device at your home, ensure they are fully functional, updated and in good working order. Not only do these devices catch thieves in the act, they are also effective deterrents to help prevent burglaries in the first place.
From working at home to entertaining the children, chances are that your electrical devices are working overtime at the moment. Stay safe by ensuring laptops are being used on hard surfaces to prevent overheating and remember not to overload electrical sockets. Don’t forget to unplug devices, such as mobile phones, once they are fully charged. Especially at night!
You may also be using your household appliances, such as hobs, ovens and washing machines, more so than usual whilst you are at home. Check that they are in good working order by looking out for scorch marks or damaged or frayed cables. Use appliances, tumble dryers for instance, only when you are at home so that you are there in case something goes wrong.
When it comes to cooking, don’t leave your pans, grills and other cooking appliances unattended in the kitchen. If you’re having a BBQ, don’t leave them unattended and keep children and pets at a safe distance at all times.
Cleaning Your Home
Being at home, you may be using your time to spring clean around the house. It’s important to keep walkways clear. You will want to be able to get out quickly in the event of a fire, which will only be more difficult if there is clutter in the way. Don’t be tempted to burn uncollected household or garden waste with a bonfire as this also creates a safety risk.
Take care with fireplaces and log burners as these can be a fire risk, even when they’re not in use. Ensure that there are no flammable items nearby, check that any logs are stored away and inspect your chimney and flue to make sure that they are clean and well maintained.
If you are using portable heaters, make sure that they are kept clear of furniture, bed clothes and curtains, and at least one metre away from people.
Don’t forget about candles and incense. Spending more time at home might mean that you want to make it cosy, but they are also a fire risk. Check that they are held firmly in heat resistant holders and placed on a stable surface, away from materials that could catch fire, such as curtains and furnishings, and out of reach of children and pets.
Most importantly, check your smoke detectors and fire alarms weekly to make sure that they are in good working condition. Put a note in your calendar to remind you to do this.
Whilst the above tips will help you keep your home safe and secure, it’s important to make sure that your property is adequately protected with home and contents insurance. That way, your home and belongings will be protected in the event of a burglary or accident.
If you have any questions, our personal insurance team are fully operational from home and ready to take your call, when you need us. Your usual Thomas Carroll representative is on hand to help, or you can reach our team on 02920 853788 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.